Going over the expenses

Reading over your credit card statement is part of the ritual of overseas travel for South Africans. With your currency in long term decline against everyone else’s, forcing yourself to come to terms with exactly how much you spent requires both fortitude and a commitment to living on baked beans for the next few months.

I thought it would be interesting for South Africans who might consider traveling to Australia to share how much it cost me. Bear in mind that I stayed there for two weeks and was able to save on things like accommodation in Sydney. My friend Chris is unemployed at the moment so I could hardly expect him to pay for internal flights and accommodation. (In any event, we always booked a twin room and didn’t pay per person, and car hire would have cost the same regardless.)

So here’s some of the damage, rounded off.

Flights, accommodation and car hire:

Jetstar (flights for two people to Melbourne and from Adelaide): R6026

Car hire: R5252 (medium sized sedan for 7 days – cheapest price on rental cars.com) + R1,223.87 (Chris paid for the petrol; if he hadn’t, the total cost for the car would have been around R9,000)

R2634.92 – Melbourne hotel (cheapest I could find – three nights)

R1479.22 – Portland motel (one night over the Easter Weekend)

R2910.26 – Adelaide hotel (cheapest I could find online – three nights)

Including my flight from Johannesburg to Sydney, the bill for flights, accommodation and car hire came to around R40,000.

Food was relatively pricey, and I did my best to keep costs down. Here’s a selection.

Breakfasts (for two):

R171 – River View Deli (coffee, raisin bread, bacon roll)

Farm Café at the Collingwood Children’s Farm R416

R332.33 – Hahndorf Inn (mushrooms and bacon and pancakes – which we shared – plus coffee for two)


R181.41 – Katoomba (two sandwiches)

R340.24 – The Rum Diary, Melbourne (sandwiches, beer and cider)


R585.84 – Stalactites, Melbourne (lamb for Chris, small vegetarian dish for me, drinks and dessert to share)

R333 – Blue Train Café in Melbourne (pizza (which we shared) and drinks)

R1236 – Il Gambero, Melbourne (I paid on my card; the others gave me cash)

R800 (dessert)  – Svago, Melbourne

Wine averaged around R140-R150 a bottle. (Alcohol is very expensive in Australia.)


R158.60 for less than an hour of parking at Sydney Airport

R156.73 – train ticket (one way) to Sydney Airport

R114 – return ferry ride for one

All told, my two weeks in Australia cost in the region of R46,000 – and that’s with Chris picking up the tab for petrol and some meals and drinks. How entire families afford to travel anywhere is beyond me.


5 thoughts on “Going over the expenses

  1. Martin Evans

    that is hectic. Im due to go there in Feb next year for a few months. at that kind of cost I may as well just return to America and spend the extra money there…I found the states to be exceptionally affordable in parts.

  2. Vanessa (@mysehnsucht)

    My family and I just went to Cape Town for 6 days recently, and our bill doesn’t look much different to this. In fact, it cost us ~ R9k for return flights for 3, R7k for 6 nights in a self-catering apartment, and about R2k for travelling around (bus + taxis). We had lunch at a restaurant at the V&A, which, for 3 people, cost R650 and we only had mains, no booze. Our total trip cost us about R25k for 6 days.
    We’ve been on holiday to Germany twice now, the last trip cost us R65k for 3 people for 2 weeks, including the airfare (which is the most expensive bit) and a day at Legoland. I guess it depends on where you go.

  3. Joe

    Yes, South Africa’s weak currency makes travelling expensive.

    However, South Africa’s high prices, even with a weak currency, also makes it an expensive destination. A 7 day trip to SA from the US would cost me much more than a three week trip to most other destinations around the world.


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